When you’re designing a swimming pool or spa, you know one of the things you want to have is a high-quality music experience. But did you know that you can’t apply the same principles to choosing a sound system as you do for your indoor listening? The outdoors presents a completely different listening environment than indoors. Inside your home, walls absorb some of the sound and reinforce low-frequency response. Outside, of course, it’s wide open, and there’s usually much more background noise — wind, traffic, barking dogs, and even crickets.
There are a few more things to take into consideration when shopping for outdoor speakers.
- How will they weather the elements? (And weather is a big deal in Portland or Vancouver.) You can either place them where they will be protected somewhat from the elements, such as under a porch roof or overhang. Or you can make sure that the manufacturer puts them through extreme testing conditions and that they will withstand the elements.
- What is the best placement for optimum sound quality? The higher you mount your speakers, the further the sound projection and the larger distance from which you’ll get good sound quality.
Set your speakers approximately 12 feet from the listening area and 8–10 feet apart from each other for the best stereo imaging.
- Mounting Options. Mounting your speakers directly onto a wall will improve the base quality. Most come with mounting brackets but make sure that the mounting surface is strong enough for the weight of the speakers and won’t cause vibration noise.
- Visibility. They can look like stones, or a frog, or even your favorite family pet. But you may want to keep in mind the placement and mounting suggestions above.
- Plenty of Base. The outdoors can make music sound thin and diluted. To keep a warm, full-bodied sound, choose outdoor speakers with good low-frequency response (60Hz or below) that produce enough base for a satisfying listening experience.
Definitely test your speaker placement for sound quality before permanently mounting them. Mounting directly to aluminum or cedar siding in not recommended; masonry or solid wood are the ideal mounting surfaces.
Let us know if you have any questions–and we’ll help you find the answer.
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